I’ve really struggled to get into the Christmas spirit this year. It’s a lot harder to find it in Dubai anyway I think and I’ve been having issues with the whole expat experience this year anyway. Couple that with temps hovering around the mid 20’s, wall to wall sunshine and an unexpected early snowfall back in the UK making me beyond jealous and I’ve found it hard to dredge up much festive cheer.
Slowly, slowly, I’m getting into the swing of things. A night out at a Christmas jumper party overlooking the indoor ski slope last week helped, even if I was a bit worse for for wear the next day. Most of the Christmas shopping is now done bar a few bits for The Husband and the Mother and even though I swore I would never go overboard on presents for a baby, I have predictably gone overboard.
Whilst I’ve been struggling to find my own Christmas joy, I’ve been thinking about others less fortunate than us. I often feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of gifts, food, alcohol and other items that we consume, that’s a collective ‘we’ not just my family btw. In recent years I’ve made it a priority to always give to charity as part of my Christmas spending, to try and help people in the world that don’t have the luxury, not just of lots of presents, but of the basics such as clean water, safe shelter or access to healthcare.
I’m not a huge charity donater, I’m quite often suspicious of a lot of charities in that I think too much of the donated money is spent on CEOs’ salaries and not enough going to where it’s needed. However, there are two that I’ve been supporting for a couple of years. One is a domestic violence charity in the UK that provides a safe refuge for women and children fleeing from abusive relationships. It’s a heartbreaking fact that Christmas for many families is not the most wonderful time of the year at all. It is in fact, worse than any other time of year. This charity does some fantastic work helping those who have nowhere else to go. This year we’ve bought and donated several presents that can be given to those families that are sheltering over the Christmas period. A thank you letter from the organisation last year said that for some of the people they help, a Christmas in the shelter will be the first they’ve ever known without some form of abuse, which had me in tears.
Another charity I give to at this time of year is Save The Children. For the last few years they have been supporting the children displaced by the war in Syria. This year they are helping the Rohingya children, forced to leave their homes and their country by acts of unspeakable violence. Most of these children have witnessed scenes that will scar them for lives and are often alone in the camps due to having lost all family members in the bloodshed. I feel it’s the least I can do to spare some money to try and help them rebuild their lives in one way or another. The events in Myanmar have really left a mark on me this year and I’m proud to live in a country where the government has sent such a substantial amount of aid to assist the Rohingya people.
I’m not all doom and gloom. I’m starting to very much look forward to a lovely Christmas with our gorgeous boy and Grandma coming out to visit. I will definitely be partaking in many a festive beverage and lots and lots of food with good friends. But I’ll also be remembering that this time of year is difficult for many and I hope that we’ve made a bit of a difference, even if it’s a small one.
Merry Christmas all!